there it is, aljazeera.com. if you go to the sports page you can find out more about the report we have just seen. the rugby world cup that kicks off here in about three hour's time. the defense presents its case in the military hearing for sergeant bow bird doll, but it's the witness they are not cooling that is making headlines. plus an historic day for the new era in u.s. and cuba relations. staying silent, republican front runner donald trump is under fire for not stepping in when a supporter called president obama a muslim.
>> we know our current president is one. you know he is not even an american -- >> we need this question. ♪ this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm ere. donald trump is under fire from critics on both sideings of the aisle today. folout from a campaign event gone awry last night. he declined to interrupt a member of the audience. randall pinkston reports. >> we're going to have some fun now. because instead of making a speech, which i have been doing over and over and over, i want to take questions. >> reporter: he was taking questions from the audience at a rally in new hampshire. one of the questions now making headlines. >> okay. this man. i like this guy. >> one of the problems in this count i try. it's a called muslims.
we know our current president is one. you know he's not even an american. >> trump tried to deflect the question by chuckling, but the unidentified man continued. >> we have training camps where they want to kill us. that's my question, when can we get rid of them? >> we're going to be looking at a lot of different things. a lot of people are saying bad things are happening out there, we'll be looking at that and plenty of other things. >> reporter: trump responded with an answer, though somewhat vague. democratic hopeful hillary clinton quickly criticized trump for not stepping in , writing on twitter: republican arizona senator john mccain encountered a similar incident during his 2008 campaign for president. but handled it a different way. >> i can't trust obama.
i have read about him -- and he's not -- he's a -- he's an arab. he is not -- [ laughter ] >> no, ma'am. no, ma'am. he's -- he's -- he's a decent family man, citizen that i just happen to have disagreements with on -- on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign is all about. he's not. [ applause ] >> thank you. >> reporter: the question also brings back memories of 2011 when trump very publicly questioned president obama's citizenship. he demanded that he release his birth certificate to prove he was born in the united states. president obama eventually did, but trump continued to dispute its authenticity. randall pinkston al jazeera. now trump's cam feign spokesman said the candidate did not hear the question. the campaign also released a statement that reads:
the defense is presenting ilths case this morning in a military hearing for sergeant o bowe bergdahl. defense attorneys said it was not necessary for bergdahl to take the standing since a 371-page long sworn statement is available. the defense also wants the army to release statements bergdahl made after being freed in a prisoner exchange with the taliban. >> we have been as energetic as we can in trying to persuade the army to release the unclassified testimony that my client gave under oath to a major general last year. >> that does not mean he will
not take the stand though, there is some word out there that there is a possibility that he will do that today. the military has wrapped up its case and the defense plans to call four witnesses today. the commanding general will decide if the sergeant will face a court-martial. now to capitol hill where the house is taking up two different measures targeting planned parent. they are threatening to let the government shut down to prevent funding for the group. planned parenthood has denied it sells the tissue from aborted fetuses. the obama administration has'sed restrictions on cuba. in that will allow businesses to open offices there and make it easier for americans to visit
there. david joins us live in havana with more. what are some of the changes and how will they impact the u.s. and cuba? >> reporter: you really can't underestimate how big a thing this is. the white house announcing this at noon today said to take effect on monday, but this would effect telecommunications banking, the ability of businesses in the united states to set up offices here, hire cuban employees, all of this was off of the table for years and years, but on december 17th, we saw the beginning of new trade policies. this is the micro perspective. this is the biproduct of all of those american businesses saying this is what we need to do business in cuba. and i have been coming down to cuba for about six years now. this was the first time i was
able to use my u.s. cell phone. verizon beginning cell phone services just yesterday. so cuba is no longer restricted in terms of cell phone access, and no longer restricted in terms of remittances. previously it was about $2,000 you could bring down every quarter, now that is completely off of the table here. remittances being a major part of the cuban economy, and a lot of that money flows from south florida and new jersey. major changes all set to take effect on monday. >> all right. so congress has been opposed to lifting the embargo even just a little bit. could they be a roadblock here? >> this is actually -- the braiding with the enemy act affords the president a certain degree of latitude. so while congress is the only body that can lift the economic
trade embargo, president obama has the ability to determine who fits in those categories, those 12 categories of who travels to cuba, what kind of businesses are able to do business with this government, food and agriculture and medicine have been essentially something the united states has been trading with cuba since the 1990s, but the expansion of these 14 categories and how they are defined by the executive office really comes down to the white house. what obama is saying is this is our ability to provide more support to the cuban private sector. it's not a lot of political callus that goes into this. people say is this an end run around the embargo, one analyst said no this is a full frontal assault on the embargo. it provides all kinds of new financing opportunities and trading opportunities and the ability for american businesses to engage with the cuban government and cuban nationals by hiring cuban employees. >> all right.
david ariosto, thank you. al jazeera america will have special coverage of pope francis's visit to cuba this weekend. several students at a virginia high school plan to rally over a ban on confederate symbols. about 20 students were suspended yesterday for showing up to school with confederate flags on their backs or clothes. the school dress code fro hib be its any display of the confederate flag. prosecutors in new jersey are considering whether to bring criminal charges against a high school football player. john henry smith reports. >> reporter: the mother of fritz says her son was provoked and that's not all this mom is saying about this latest sindh debit of on the field but outside of the rules high school football violence. she also maintains her son didn't mean to swing the helmet
at all. this video of fritz striking the unprotected head of an opposing player has now been viewed half a million times. his mother says the swing of the helmet was just a mistake. >> he said it was an accident. he said his hand got stuck in the helmet. >> reporter: police have now turned their files over to the prosecution. he was kicked off of the team and suspended ten days from school. >> i feel the consequences are very appropriate, considering the seriousness of the incident. >> reporter: those the refugee penalized him for his action he wasn't booted from the game. the opposing player went to the hospital afterwards and needed ten stitches. he says he has since apologized. >> fritz said, one, it was an
accident, and he humbly apologized. he didn't do it purposefully. he said he apologized, and at some point he would do that publicly. >> he apologized to the student, the coaches, his team members, the referees. i mean what else can he do? >> reporter: this is the latest incident of bad behavior this season. on september 4th two players hit a referee from behind. and eight days later also in the area, this high school player shoved an official he decision -- disagreed with. while it is rare for high school football players to get arrested it has happened. four detroit area players were arrested for beating up a rival on the final play. back to you.
>> as the global refugee crisis intensifies... >> they have travelled for weeks, sometimes months. >> and the e.u. struggles to cope... >> we don't know, they stop us here. >> what's being done while lives hang in the balance? >> we need help now. japan's government is expected to pass a controversial
military bill today. the law would alou japanese troops to fight abroad for the first time since world war ii. there have been protests across the country against the move which the prime minister supports. croatia has now closed most of its border crossings and is bussing people to the hungary border. that's why authorities are letting small groups cross into that country. the hungarian foreign minister says there is not an organized coordination between the two countries and croatia is encouraging masses of people to cross the border illegally. the huge influx has jammed boarding crossings. lawrence lee has more from the border. >> reporter: it's all relative and no doubt this miserable line of people waiting for someone to take them further looks absolutely desperate. but in relative terms it is
certainly better than being tear gassed by the hungarians and as the day wore on the buses came regularly shipping them north. so the untrained eye, the idea of this three year old thinking this could be anything but a nightmare seems impossible, but her iraqi family have told her it's a great big game even if the game is exhausting and seems to have no end. these european countries that say they don't you you. what do you say to them? >> iing don't want them also. >> reporter: which country do you want? >> i don't care. i just told you i want to be peace place. i hope to find this place. >> reporter: croatia had said the border might close yet from first light they continued in from serbia, but just one road border remained open, a pointless exercise when no ref
geese were there anyway. because they were all here sheltering from 40 degree heat. >> the boat was sinking two times before, and the third time, we reached safety -- >> reporter: as he was talking everybody got up and ran to the railway line. a train was coming, could this be salvation? but no it wasn't. and then an indication of just how vulnerable they are to exploitation. a man suddenly lying on the ground in pain. surrounded by riot police. what has happened here, the man who was crying on the growning turned out to have been taking money from some of the refugees and promising them that they could go to hungary, one just looked on his phone on the gps signal and realized they weren't in hungary at all, that they were in croatia and somebody punched him in the face. the government says it can't put up with much more but will still allow people who don't want to
ta here. and that is basically everybody. but the other countries won't allow that. welcome to europe now go away. and join us for an al jazeera america special report this sunday desperate journeys a global crisis airs at 9:00 pm eastern, 6:00 pacific. greece is also bearing the brunt of the flood into europe. the country is set to hold a national election on sunday. barnaby phillips has more on the overlapping issues. >> reporter: they watch bemused as desperate people rife every day in their city. in a square in central athens, elderly greeked outnumbered by hundreds of afghans. most of the afghans plan to move on. but a few will sante fe here. like this man who came 14 years ago. he says greeks are generous, but he worries that political and
economic instability will change that. >> we are afraid because of this election, and also because of this crisis, maybe this climate will be changed, maybe some extremist parties, extremist groups will use this condition on benefit of themselves for the rewards. that's why we are afraid. >> reporter: this is what he fears. the neo-nazi golden dawn who gathered just a few blocks away. foreigners out of greece they chant. golden dawn have no chance of winning this election, but according to opinion polls they are now the third most popular party in greece. for them, the refugee crisis is an opportunity. he says it is a disgrace, thousands cross the sea into greece whilst all our politicians can do is dream about who will lead the country. >> you cannot stop the refugees.
>> reporter: this doctor is temporarily the minister of refugees until greece gets a new government. he says nobody should use the refugee crisis to get more votes. >> translator: it could be used in this political battle, but that would be a mistake. because it's a refugee crisis and not an immigration crisis. greece's obligations are clearly defined by international law. we have to accept these refugees. >> reporter: the harsh truth is that greeks have plenty of things to worry about apart from the refugee crisis, unemployment, rising taxes, falling living standards. they don't have great expectations of these elections, but they desperately hope for a government that will somehow address their country's economic problems. volunteers sort through donated clothes for refugees and poor greeks alike. most greeks feel sympathy for
all of the destitute people in their midst. they know whatever happens in the elections economic hardship and refugees will be a challenge for this country for years to come. barnaby phillips, al jazeera, at ins. coming up, taxicab driver by day, author by night. how a syrian man is fulfilling his dreams of writing while rebuilding his life in the u.s.
information about russia's military buildup in syria. national security correspondent jamie mcintyre joins us now by phone. jamie, what can you tell us? >> reporter: a short time ago a senior defense spokesman said that four fighter planes have now rived in western syria where the u.s. has been observing the buildup. they also spotted four additional helicopters this morning. that brings the number to eight. they are a mix of transport and some helicopter gun ships. the addition of these strike aircraft, and flanker, which is the nato name for it, that deployment comes as moscow asked the united states for military to military coordination, and this morning ash carter spoke by phone with his russian counter
part. we're told by a senior pentagon official that he assured secretary carter that the russian military deployment was defensive in nature and was designed to fulfill commitments to they had already made to the regime of bashar al-assad. that seems to show it's really more about shoring up the assad regime, rather than targeting isil. although they said that russia and the u.s. do have a common purpose in defeating isil. >> all right. jamie mcintyre live for us on the phone. thank you so much. many of the millions of refugees fleeing syria are professionals, seeking opportunity. andy met a writer who left syria seven years ago and today is a
cab driver in chicago. >> reporter: this man may have the least glamorous day job of any famous author. his cheeky short stories, poems and pair -- parabol poke fun at the regime of president assad. >> they spoke fun but there is more sadness in my stories. >> reporter: he is driving a cab here in chicago seven days a week. but even after seven years in the united states, his thoughts are never far from syria where family still lives. >> in downtown damascus, they can hear the fighting. they can hear everything. >> reporter: things have not gotten better in the seven years since the left syria.
and the situation a has gotten worse with the rise of isis and the flush of refugees leaving the country. he sees the leaders of isis are educated. >> they have their own ideas. they protect their own ideas. they protect it, and stay in believe in their ideas and -- to death. >> reporter: he says his writing used to be optimistic, now it's more realistic. >> i was shocked. i was shocked and i cried. and there is only chaos now. everybody kills everybody. >> reporter: ironically he knows that the worse things get in syria, the more popular his work might become. the writes and publics in this arabic and english. his publisher and agent in new york are eagerly awaiting
his new novel a book that will contain a lot of heros and brightalty, reflecting the reality in syria now. >> i want to see the next events in syria. because most of the -- the novel is based on true stories. >> reporter: maybe waiting for more optimistic things to happen? >> i hope so? >> reporter: no matter what happens the page will still be his stage and he'll have plenty more to say. the epa has ordered volkswagon to recall half a million cars. it said the company installed software to deliberately get around smog standards. it turns on the full system only when undergoing smog testing. the recall effects models sold since 2009.
we're getting a stunning new look at the further planet in our solar system. these pictures released by nasa, revealing a low-lying haze around pluto. scientists say that provides further evidence that some types of ice exists there. these pictures also show pluto's rugged terrain in unprecedented detail. president jimmy carter shared a very sweet moment, oh, with braves fans in atlanta. he and his wife were put on the stadium's kiss cam last night. they were in their usual seats near the brave's dugout. their team lost 5-0, the 90 year old former president is undergoing treatment right now for cancer. thanks for joining us. i'm erika pitzi. the news continues next live from london, and we'll back here in new york for another update in half an hour. for the latest headlines go to
our website, aljazeera.com. have a good day. ♪ frustration turns to violence as croatia struggles to cope with the refugee crisis. hello there i'm barbara sarah, this is al jazeera live from london. also coming up on the program, talk once more, the u.s. and russia defense chiefs speak on the phone for the first time in a year to discuss the conflict in syria. taliban fighters kill at least 21 security officers in an attack on a military base in pakistan. and indonesian forces m